Scanxiety


Tonight I intended to sit and look through photos for my next fun post about what to wear after your mastectomy...culling, as the real photographers call it. (Look at me...learning new words!)

But my mind resembles my early attempts at egg poaching. The waters are spinning and bits are breaking off, clouding the pot.

Most of my nails are bitten off. Projects started, but not finished. I'm drinking too much coffee, losing my temper too fast. London--bless her--looked through the unfolded laundry on the sofa for clean socks, without prodding (or tears).

Scrambled egg soup, anyone?

Last week I had a routine brain MRI (clear) and Echocardiogram (clear). In a week I have a PET scan, checking my body once again to make sure there is still no evidence of cancer. I will continue to have these scans every six months for another year, then annually. After five years, perhaps less frequently.

Will I feel this way every time?

It's like when the baby sleeps through the night the first few times. The whole night. You drink coffee in silence and read the newspaper (Just kidding. Look at Facebook on your phone).... But all night? Maybe I should check? I hope he's breathing. I should check. But the quiet. I'll just open the door a crack. Will I wake him if I check? ....And on it goes, until that first cry of the new morning. Back to diapers, bottles, microwaved coffee.

Will I feel this way all the years?

Two weeks ago I sat upright in bed and had immediate and intense pain across my chest. Cramps, I think. I laid back and breathed through the pain, massaging my chest, and found a lump. A ridge, really. We believe it is scar tissue, it could be a knot, or maybe swelling in the cartilage where a rib meets the sternum. But it was terrifying...it continues to be unsettling. I had an X-Ray to make sure none of the ribs were cracked or displaced. They can be very brittle after radiation. The X-Ray was clear.

I read an article a while back about the body's inflammatory response to stress aiding and abetting cancer (particularly cancer recurrence). I have always been guilty of internalizing my stress. I'm not saying I blame myself for getting cancer. Something went haywire in my cells and my body simply played host. But there are still so many unanswered questions about why some breast cancers become Inflammatory, while most do not.

I have learned to let go of so many of the things that once stressed me out.

But these are things I still hold onto...the panic about every headache, rash, tightness in the chest...the anxiety before every scan...thoughts of my children hitting life's milestones without their mom.

Tonight Eli asked me to lay in is bed and snuggle (his favorite word). At first I said no. I don't want to create an expectation, a habit I can't maintain...especially when I put three tiny children to bed by myself most nights of the week.

But life is short. Toddlerhood is shorter.

I laid next to him and asked if he'd like me to sing.

"Sing about dragons."

My kids currently love the How to Train Your Dragon movies. So I realize he was hoping for some off-the-cuff ballad about Toothless and StormFly.

But I sang Puff the Magic Dragon. A song that brings me back to Grand Ledge, the house my mom grew up in. My grandmother at her organ, playing and singing Puff the Magic Dragon with all her heart. And as Eli's breathing slowed, so did mine...just a bit. I took a few steps off anxiety's summit.

I'm still feeling pretty scanxious (ok, I just made that one up). But tonight I will be content with just a bit.

#Scanxiety #InflammatoryBreastCancer #nolumpstillcancer #PETScan

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